Do you remember during last year's Summer of Shakespeare, when I went to Roosevelt Island to go see Much Ado About Nothing in an immersive style? Well last night Jenny & I went to go see Island Shakespeare put on Measure for Measure. Um, wonderful? So, a little context. I've never seen nor read Measure for Measure. That, by the way, is how I rank things in the realm of Shakespeare; reading the plays is vastly inferior to seeing them performed, if you ask me. Not a controversial opinion, I'm sure, but I'm just putting it out there. Besides that, I generally find more experimental interpretations on Shakespeare to ring a little more "true" than the big "Classic Shakespearean Actor!" style of presentation. The thing's the play, as it were. I mean, bad puns aside, it is meant as a story, not as a ritual. What I'm getting at here is that I don't know anything at all about Measure for Measure, & I decided not to read the Wikipedia summary or anything, either. Just to go on in, tabula rasa.
You can't really say "immersive theater" these days without mentioning Sleep No More; here I will start by mentioning that the managing director of Island Shakespeare comes to Island Shakespeare by way of the Boston cast. Actually, I think the artistic director-- & director of Measure for Measure-- comes via Punchdrunk, too. That all said, they clearly have a different vision, one that is defined by clarity. You aren't watching an impressionist interpretation of the play through stage design & contact improv dancing; you are watching the play itself. Much Ado... was largely just a matter of running around in an amphitheater; this time the show was located inside of a church on Roosevelt Island, & because of that indoor space there was a bit more of that "following actors" sort of paradigm. Not distractingly so-- the show uses musical cues to keep you keyed into the main thrust of the performance-- but with more going on at the fringes.
There needs to be a sort of word for a crush that isn't a crush. Normally I'd say that there probably is a German word, but in this case French seems more likely. See, I was sent on a mission! I wasn't even really prepared, mentally, for the one-on-one, so I was all rattled & felt nervous & stupid. See, just like a crush! Butterflies. I realize that being taken aside & whispered to intimately is like, completely designed to manufacture that feeling, but it worked, I totally felt special. I carried the letter to Angelo, I did it, you can trust me! Luckily I knew who Angelo was, because I'd been paying attention to the corpus. Mariana, I am always bound to you. So yeah, I'd say a huge success. Last time I said I was looking forward to what they did next; well, now I'm filled with even more anticipation for the next of their shows. I'll be there with bells on. Measure for Measure is running through February 10th; go see it.